Indirect objects pronouns
|Read the strip. What is it that doesn’t work? Click here for the translation.
When you read or hear the dialogue above, it sounds pretty choppy and that’s because instead of using a pronoun (a word that is used instead of a noun) the woman and man speaking are saying “a Giulia” over and over again. If you had to express the same thing in English you would certainly write and say “to her/her” to avoid an annoying repetition of the same word. Don’t worry! The above dialogue sounds odd even to a mother tongue person since Italian, like English, have pronouns that must be used to make sentences clearer, less awkward, and smoother.
In this chapter you are learning the indirect direct object pronouns, those that can replace the indirect object nouns. Let me explain what “indirect object” means with two examples:
- Io do un fiore a mia zia (I give my aunt a flower / I give a flower to my aunt)
- Preparo la cena per i miei bambini (I prepare dinner for my children)
An indirect object is a noun that receives the action of a verb indirectly. While direct object nouns and pronouns answer the questions che cosa? or chi? (see Unità 13.3), indirect object nouns and pronouns answer the questions a chi /per chi? (to whom / for whom?). The nouns (a) mia zia and (per) i miei bambini are both indirect objects because they “answer” the question a chi /per chi? Direct object pronouns replace direct object nouns when the contest is clear and there is no possibility of confusion. You already know these pronouns, and you know how to use them. In fact, they are the same ones you use with the verb piacere (see Unità 4.3)
|The following common Italian verbs are often used with indirect object nouns or pronouns. You already know the majority if not all of them. For practice and pronunciation, use Quizlet.
Note: Unfortunately not all Italian verbs that take an indirect object, and accordingly, an indirect object pronoun, have an English equivalent with the same construction, and vice versa. This means that a verb may take an indirect object and thus an indirect object pronoun in Italian but not in English. This is for example of telefonare (to call [by phone]): Telefono al professore, gli telefono questa sera (I’ll call the professor; I’ll call him tonight). A good dictionary should indicate if a verb takes a direct object or not.
|“Ti amo” or “Ti voglio bene”?
Italians have to ways to express love for people (as you have already learned, Italians do not “love” things [Unità 4.3]). Since the verb amare has a physical and passionate implication, it can’t be used with parents, siblings, friends, and pets but only with lovers: You can say Io amo mia moglie, but not
The two verbs are also different grammatically. One requires direct objects and direct object pronouns (amare chi?), the other the indirect ones (voler bene a chi?). Note the difference:
When used with the 1st and 2nd persons the two verbs apparently have the same construction simply because the indirect and indirect pronouns have the same form:
Of course, one can simply love, love very much or even too much, so words such as molto/tanto, moltissimo/tantissimo, troppo can always be added: Ti amo moltissimo, anche troppo (I love you a lot, even too much). With volere bene these words go in between: Lei mi vuole molto bene (She loves me). Phrases such as volere un gran bene e volere tutto il bene del mondo are very common.